returning to brompton.

It felt so good to finish 28thirty (thank you for all of your kind words) that I decided to take a look at my grad school cardigan (alice bell’s lovely brompton), so named because I was not actually IN grad school when I began this sweater in January 2008. I envisioned myself wearing a cozy cardigan, drinking my morning coffee, and digging into exciting books. I’d say that’s pretty accurate, although I’m not sure I realized when I started this sweater how fast I would have to read, and how not-so-exciting some of the books would be.

When I dug this particular WIP out of its tote bag, I found that I had knit and seamed one button band, and had begun knitting the second. This week, I’ve knit and seamed the second button band (and boy, has my seaming improved!), and begun on the first sleeve.

brompton1

brompton2

I’m pretty sure I can block the wonkiness out of the first button band, but my biggest worry is that it will be too big.  I’m a bit slimmer (or so I’m told) than when I started this sweater, and I’m not sure I totally understood things like size, ease and fit. I’m going to pay particular attention to this as I work the sleeves, and hopefully after blocking I’ll have a drape-y, good-for-layering cardigan. Fingers crossed!

spunkyjan

I also finished spinning the second half of my January Spunky Club Fiber in Twilight. I’m planning to turn this into 2-ply, and I’m anxious to see what kind of yardage and wpi I end up with. For my next project, I’d like to think more carefully about what kind of end product I want, and maybe try a new kind of plying…

Alright, time to get to (school) work!

pie and daffodils.

delicious

daffodils-whisper

An oatmeal pecan pie and a fresh bunch of daffodils (with my whisper cardigan hiding in the background). The sun is shining brightly (and ever so warmly) on us today, and I am thankful for the coolness (literally) of my basement/first floor hybrid apartment. (The house is on a hill, so even though my apartment has full windows on 3 sides, it is technically the basement.)

Also, this guy wants you to know that he is on full alert:

guard-dog

And he has good reason to assume the guard dog position! Today I got off the wait list and into the Hello Yarn Fiber Club, which means that the already-full blue bucket of fiber behind Boh will soon be overflowing…

Enjoy the sunshine! I’m off to class.

red buttons.

[Picture-heavy post today!]

Before buttons:

beforebuttons

Yesterday I slipped my 28thirty on to take Boh around the block, and snapped a few pictures of me wearing it. Then I realized that it would be so worth it to sit down, sew on the buttons I’d chosen, and actually finish the sweater!

After buttons:

buttons1

buttons2-dark

buttons-allbuttoned

buttons-arm

buttons3

I can’t help it. I love this sweater. One more picture:

buttons-closeuo

project details:

28thirty, by the Zephyr Girls.

size: 36-39″

yarn: Peace Fleece, colorway grassroots, 4.5 skeins (buttons from ebay)

needles: US 7

mods: lengthened body to hit at hips, followed pattern for yoke and sleeves, but found that sleeves were way too loose — decreased severely on either side of center underarm every other row until stitch count was down to the XS size. decreased a few more time as directed in the pattern at wrist. (I am mostly happy with how this turned out — will likely be useful when I layer this over lots of other things, but over a t-shirt, there is some extra room there in the chest near where the sleeves start.)

victory? yes.

beaverslide.

beaverslide2

beaverslide1

Sigh. Swoon. I think I mentioned that I did a bit of stressed out yarn acquisition a few weeks ago. It arrived yesterday from Beaverslide Dry Goods in Montana, and I do not regret it. I am already daydreaming about what to do with these 5 skeins of super soft worsted lambswool in October Skye, 5 skeins of wool/mohair worsted in winter wheat, and 2 in snapdragon. Garter yoke cardigan? Girl cobblestone? Striped hourglass? For now, lingering over the planning process is enough. I’ve crammed these skeins into the bookshelf above all that I still have to read and process (oh, and write about) this semester. A few more weeks of the grind, and then summer!

Summer, for me, means the start of my CSA, the chance to read more slowly/deliberately, a road trip in a westerly direction with the dog…but mostly, it brings the chance to fully exhale.

kitchen weekend.

We did a lot of playing in the kitchen this weekend, which, when I think about it, is pretty much what we do every weekend. This time, though, we remembered the camera (and the blog) BEFORE completing the eating. (This is key.)

If you’re here for knitting, you won’t find any today. I am hoping to play with buttons for my 28thirty. This week. Ahem. You heard it here first! Now, onward to the photo-documentation of this weekend’s kitchen-time.

dumplings1

dumplings2

I present Deb’s vegetarian dumplings. These are simple, fresh, and flavorful. (Like that, Champ?) In fact, after dipping our hands into the mixture before adding the egg, we siphoned off almost half of the tofu-veggies-ginger-garlic-seasonings “salad” to eat by itself. I actually ditched all the other dumpling recipes in my blue binder as a result of how tasty these were. You may recall that last time we followed a recipe that had us make our own wrappers and had a pork-based filling. Those were definitely very good, but these were incredibly tasty, and yet light enough that one could eat A LOT of them and not be incapacitated an hour later. I’m just saying.

sushi1

sushi2

This was more like kitchen sink sushi — filled with things that needed to be eaten, like asparagus and carrots, and topped with dollops of wasabi mayonnaise. When the boy makes sushi, I watch, and “help” by eating enough to keep some room on the cutting board for the next roll. Hey, somebody has to do it! (We had enough to pack sushi lunches for Sunday. I’m willing to argue that a sushi-lunch makes working on Sunday a tad easier.)

oystermushrooms

ramps1

ramps2

Okay, I may have misled you before when I said we took pictures BEFORE we ate. In this case, I just have pictures of these gorgeous treats before we prepared them: locally grown oyster mushrooms and ramps from the farmers’ market. You’ll just have to take my word for it that the oyster mushrooms sauteed with onions and the ramps fried in butter with a pinch of salt and folded into scrambled eggs were incredibly flavorful and delicious.

debchocolatecrack

And then, as a mini-break from all of my reading and note-taking, I made Deb’s chocolate caramel crack(ers). This recipe may be joining the rotation of treats that get made with such regularity around here that the ingredients are always on the resupply list. I was eating these before the chocolate had fully hardened last night, and this morning, I broke off a small corner, just to see, after I snapped this photo. Delicious.

One last picture for you, of some of the daffodils I cut from the yard to brighten up my apartment. The forecast says it will rain all week, but at least I have daffodils in every room!

daffodils

whispering.

Excuse the rooster-still-in-her-pjs-photographing-herself-in-a-dirty-mirror nature of these pictures. (Yup, still abusing the hyphen.)

whisperside

whisperfront

I know these pictures leave something to be desired, as they don’t really give you a good sense of the actual knitting, but I love this sweater. For laceweight yarn, it is moving quite quickly. I’m past the lovely center back gather and plan to log a few more inches at a lecture this afternoon. Hooray!

In less happy news, this guy has not been feeling so hot the last few days. Here’s what he looked like on Wednesday: swollen eye, puffy ears. Boo.

sickboh

After talking with the vet, it seems like he was having some kind of reaction. The swelling has gone down, and with the help of some antihistamines, he is almost back to his sweet silly self. Here he is, napping in the morning sun:

sleepingboh

I’m hoping he’ll be up for a frolic of some sort this weekend, as the forecast is for sunshine and relative warmth!

boh declares victory/knits-in-action.

cookie1

cookie2

cookie3

cookie3a

cookie4

I’ve attempted to capture most of the process of stalking this particular kind of cookie. Somewhere in the middle there, it is not uncommon to see the predator (Boh) wriggle around on his back NEXT TO his prey (the cookie). He loves these treats, and takes a good twenty minutes to perform his particular dance of domination and destruction.

On an unrelated note (unless we connect cookie to special treat to holiday to Easter to Easter outfits), I thought I’d post a quick picture of legwarmers-in-action to satisfy the throngs of googlers who seem to reach my blog because of an as yet unsatiated desire for information and pictures related to wearing legwarmers. (I’ve said this before but I am rather puzzled, as my fashion sense is not necessarily of-the-moment. However, I am all about giving the people what they want, and if they want ordinary pictures of me wearing my legwarmers, I’m happy to oblige.)

It was cold on Easter here, but I wanted to wear something springy. I do not really have comfortable shoes that evoke a sense of spring, so I wore my flip-flops. Hence, the subtle presence of legwarmers.

easter-outfit-legwarmers

Thrilling, I know, but if this photo provides someone with legwarmer confidence, it will make me happy. You don’t always have to go all Cyndi Lauper in order to keep your lower legs and ankles warm…

Busy day today — hoping to sneak in a few rows of knitting amdist the craziness!

scones and sweaters.

Self-explanatory, no?

scones

Heidi’s maple syrup scone recipe was super easy, and incredibly delicious. I even called my mom to tell her about it. Maple syrup is a big thing around here, so I can get jars full of different grades of local syrup at the co-op. This recipe perfectly highlighted that hard-to-describe but oh-so-good maple syrup sweetness. And it is quick enough to make impulsively. And then ruin your dinner by eating one (or two) moments after the scones come out of the oven. You’ve been warned.

Next up: 28thirty is blocked! And dry! No buttons yet, but I have some options, and am waiting for some of last week’s ebay purchases to arrive so that I can play around with size/color. Here are some rooster-in-the-mirror-wearing-the-sweater-even-though-the-sleeves-are-still-damp weekend pictures. (Apologies for my hyphen abuse today.)

28thirtyblocked-blurry

28thirtyblocked-closeup

28thirtysideblocked

28thirtyblocked

Also, I really love this picture:

amytiltedpic

Trying to take pictures of yourself using the hold-your-arm-out-at-a-ridiculous-angle approach occasionally yields unexpectedly delightful results.

I’ve also made some significant progress on Whisper:

whisper-sleeve1

boh-whisper-sleeve

Boh thought about knitting a few rows this morning, but ultimately decided that he’d rather take a nap.

I lengthened the sleeve to about 9.5 inches so that it falls just past my elbow, thinking that when I block this, I’ll get a bit more length. I’m into a big stretch of stockinette, which makes this project perfect for some of the lectures on my list this week.

I woke up with the sun today, well before my alarm. It has been awhile since I’ve done that, as the winter sun rarely appears before the appointed wake-up time. The days are lengthening now, and I like it.

pssst.

whisper-first-sleeve

And so it begins. Yesterday, in between chunks of reading and note-taking, I wound up a skein of Knitpicks Shadow in Redwood Forest with an intention to swatch. After struggling with attempting to cast on/join laceweight yarn on circular 6s (which I was going to try first after reading some rav comments), I gave up on the magic looping because I was too lazy to dig up a book to refresh my memory on the start-up part of it and went looking for dpns.

Take 2: Bamboo dpns, size 6. AKA the dullest dpns in my collection. I cast on 76 st and knit a few rows of k1p1 ribbing (a popular rav mod to prevent rolling), cursing all the while. Then I remembered these needles, given to me by someone quite dear. Maybe there were sixes in this set?

Nope. But there were dpns in size 7s (which the pattern uses), and they were pointy. The needles determined my plan of attack: with only one set of viable needles for starting the project without wanting to poke myself in the eye repeatedly, I dove in, SANS swatch. I mean, if the results of the swatch do not matter because there is only one set of needles in the house that will be enjoyable to knit this yarn with, what could a swatch really DO for me?

Famous last words, I know, but if the knitting isn’t enjoyable, why do it?

Here’s how it is working out so far. On this sleeve, I’m getting 7 st/inch and 8 rows/inch on 7s. The pattern gauge is 6st/inch and 8 rows/inch. I’ve read that some folks have found that Shadow will grow, and the sleeves are pretty big on a lot of people. With this pattern’s particular construction, my st gauge is not as important for overall size (notwithstanding the arms, but I am happy with them being a little smaller), because the pattern moves from sleeve to sleeve across the back, rather than down, and my row gauge is on, and then the back gets picked up and worked down. Does that make sense? I think so…

Also, I am aware that I need to keep an eye on all of this, and laceweight yarn on bigger needles seems particularly responsive in the land of blocking. Yay!

I’m glad my needle dilemma reminded me of these needles. It feels good to be using them.

Back to the books…

rains/pours.

Lots of knitting and posting this week, folks! (Me? Hiding? Procrastinating? Never.) First up, 28thirty, gloriously blocking on the kitchen table:

28thirty-blocking

I won three or four lots of buttons yesterday on ebay, and I can’t wait to play around with color combinations. Right now, I’m thinking big red buttons, but we’ll see…

For some reason, the catharsis of casting off just makes me want to knit more! I dug into the bag that goes everywhere with me for my toe up socks, and realized that I only had a few more inches to go on sock #2. A few hours of decompressing from a very productive Monday-Tuesday and voila! Socks!

socks-fo-chair

Although these socks are not perfect, I am thrilled with them, and I may be a toe-up sock convert! This is my first toe-up pair, and believe-you-me I did some serious wrangling with the cast-on, heel instructions, etc. before discovering knitting by bicycle’s tutorial and experiencing an a-ha moment. The heels do not match, and I can’t quite figure out why. Neither looks wrong, exactly, but they are not the same. Also, my loose bind off is not loose enough. Something to work on.

socks-fo-3

socks-kitchen

Maybe I’ll do a wrap up post on these sometime in the future, but for now, these puppies are on my feet! Notes on my stitch count, etc. can be found on the project’s Rav page or in an earlier blog post. (Confession time: I haven’t even gotten around to weaving in the ends and tidying up those little holes that show up sometimes when you turn the heel…)